Sun Offers to Clean Up IBM Mess

Sun Microsystems Inc., looking to turn an IBM Corp. marketing gaff into a public relations coup for itself, announced Friday that it will help the City of San Francisco clean up the sidewalks Big Blue spray painted as part of its Linux eServer advertising campaign.

Sidewalks in San Francisco and Chicago have been spray painted with peace symbols, hearts and penguins as part of IBM’s “Peace, Love, Linux” campaign. Big Blue said the sidewalk advertisements were supposed to be done in biodegradable chalk, but, at least in San Francisco and Chicago, black spray paint was used instead. San Francisco ordered Big Blue to clean up the graffiti last week. Chicago was contemplating fines on Friday.

Sun said Friday that when it learned that IBM had failed to meet the deadline San Francisco had set for the clean up, Sun volunteers offered their help. But Sun also took the opportunity to take a swipe at IBM, which has become its main rival in the server space.

“For us, it’s just one more way in which we’re helping clean up after IBM,” said Sun spokesperson Jeremy Barnish. “Not only is IBM feeling the heat from officials in San Francisco, they’re also feeling pressure from Sun. Last year, according to industry analysts, Sun eclipsed IBM as the number one company in the U.S., in server market sales, with its Sun Enterprise and Netra servers.”

Regardless, IBM is upping the pressure. On Friday it unveiled a new initiative called Project eLiza, with the goal of creating self-healing, self-protecting and self-provisioning servers. Illuminata Group analyst Jonathan Eunice said Project eLiza will likely raise the bar in the server industry.

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